Peter Burling, Blair Tuke name experienced squad for NZ's entry in SailGP

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have assembled a strong team for New Zealand’s entry in the SailGP league, consisting of some of our best sailors across different formats.

(L-R) Louis Sinclair, Blair Tuke, Andy Maloney, Erica Dawson, Josh Junior, Liv Mackay, Marcus Hansen and Peter Burling Source: Supplied

Burling and Tuke, the NZ SailGP team’s co-CEOs, unveiled their squad this morning — featuring a combination of Olympic, round-the-world and America’s Cup sailors from around the country.

Joining the duo is Louis Sinclair, Andy Maloney, Erica Dawson, Josh Junior, Liv Mackay and Marcus Hansen.

Dawson and Mackay were selected after coming through the NZ SailGP team’s female development programme, which was created to give more pathways to female sailors.

“While this is a small step in working towards gender equality in sailing, we are committed to creating more opportunities for women in professional sailing,” Tuke said.

The team will debut in the SailGP’s opening event in Bermuda in April. But in the meantime, Burling said, a majority of the team are focused on another regatta that’s also rather important.

“For now the majority of the team is head down focused on the defence of the America's Cup with Emirates Team New Zealand in March, but it’s a great milestone to announce such a strong line-up of sailors to join us in our first SailGP season.”

Burling and Tuke said they’re also using the SailGP as a platform to promote Live Ocean — the marine conservation cause they support.

“All the New Zealand SailGP Team members are passionate about the ocean, and we’re excited to step up as champions for a healthy ocean on the world stage. The race for a live ocean is on,” Burling said.

SailGP is a global sailing league headed by Kiwi great Sir Russell Coutts which will see teams compete in Bermuda, Italy, Britain, Denmark, France, Spain, Christchurch and the US over the course of the year.

The season culminates in a grand final in San Francisco next March, during which the champion will be awarded $1 million.